Property: Tall stories from the country

When you think lofts, you think Manhattan, not Wiltshire - but now the high watermark of the smart inner-city lifestyle has gone rural, and apartments are springing up in market towns and old mansions.

East End send-off for a `diamond geezer'

THEY LOVE harking back to the old days in the East End of London - the Blitz, the Queen Mum and that rosy era when the Kray twins bestrode their territory like benevolent giants.

Hitchcock made his masterpiece there, now it's to be a block of flats

IT WAS to have been the start of a new era of British film-making at the studio where Alfred Hitchcock made The Lady Vanishes. But the landlord has cried "cut'' just weeks after the cameras began rolling after an absence of 44 years.

HOW WE MET: KAY MELLOR AND JUDE KELLY

The writer and actress Kay Mellor (far right), 45, was born in Leeds and studied drama at Bretton Hall. After working on 'Coronation Street' and 'Brookside', her TV breakthrough was the 1995 prostitution drama 'Band of Gold'. In May, she received Bafta's Dennis Potter award. She and her husband, Anthony, have two daughters and a granddaughter. The director Jude Kelly, OBE, 44, grew up in Liverpool and studied at Bristol University. She ran Battersea Arts Centre before being appointed artistic director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 1988, which she has established as one of Britain's most important arts venues. She is married to writer/director Michael Birch, and they have two children

Property: Raising the roof about bad loft extensions

Doing it on the cheap can be a headache, costing thousands to put right, Robert Liebman discovers

Property: Ever tried conversion therapy?

Fiona Brandhorst on the perils and pluses of turning a garage or loft into a space fit for your gran to live in

Property: One's company, two's too much

It's time house builders got wise to the fact that more and more of us are choosing to live on our own, says Felicity Cannell

Property: Room to spare for urban space men

Open-plan living is all the rage in cities, writes Robert Nurden

Interiors: How to develop a roof of your own

THERE are three basic ways to build upwards: a loft conversion, a "mansard" - a building design named after a French architect which uses the house's original shape but incorporates another layer - or build an extra storey. And there are numerous points to consider before dreaming about sunning yourself on your fifth-floor patio.

Scenes from a bad marriage

In one of the bitterest and most talked-about legal battles in modern Hollywood history, Harvey Keitel is trying to win custody of his daughter from his former girlfriend, the actress Lorraine Bracco

Country life in the big smoke

Like to reside in a quiet, relaxing, safe environment? Then come to the city, says Robert Nurden

Property: Make your home in a shell

In its latest London residential survey, FPD Savills reports that one of the trendiest styles of Nineties living, the shell apartment, accounts for just 2 per cent of all current units compared to 12 per cent a year ago. It seems that although buyers like the idea of loft living, and of stamping their own mark on a place, they prefer in the end to pay more and buy their loft fully fitted out by the developer. Lofts were originally very much the territory of the creative professions but many buyers without a particular flair for design feel daunted by the challenge of filling a large empty space. The work often adds a good pounds 50,000 to the cost of the shell. Nervous buyers can see now that in the second-hand market individualistic interior designs can be difficult to sell. One of the few buildings with shell apartments is The Factory at Shepherdess Walk, off City Road. Manhattan Loft Corporation has 29 shells remaining out of 50, priced from pounds 155,000 to pounds 400,000. The average size is just 1,500 sq ft. Sales office: 0171 490 3949.

Huge haul of opium

A man was last night charged with conspiracy to supply a controlled drug after Britain's biggest opium seizure led to the recovery of almost 50kg of the drug.

In the Courts: Judge says sex killer Farrant should stay behind bars for life

Victor Farrant, a convicted rapist who murdered one woman and attempted to murder another after he was released from prison, received a life sentence yesterday, with a recommendation that he should never be released. Steve Boggan and Kathy Marks examine the background to the trial of a violent and dangerous man.

Real Living: Inside - Adventures in space

Loft-living is now the stuff of popular fantasy. But in reality, have lofts had their day? asks Oliver Bennett
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